Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dynamo v. Firpo, Soccer Show Podcast, & Stadium Update

There's only one more chance left to catch the Houston Dynamo live at Robertson Stadium in 2008, and that is on Wednesday night, Thanksgiving Eve, as they host Firpo in their last match of the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. The Dynamo need a win to advance to the knock-out stage which takes place in February 2009.

Tired of all your guests, bring them out to the game - special ticket package available, 10 tickets for $50.00.


The Podcast from Monday night's Soccer Show from 1560 The Game (Houston), is now available:


Speaking of 1560 A.M., today Dynamo CEO/President Oliver Luck was a guest on the Ken Hoffman Show, and he stated that he feels certain, more certain then ever, that the Dynamo will come to terms on a downtown stadium deal with the City of Houston and Harris County, and that the Dynamo will have their own home by 2011.

Finally, before the Houston Dynamo suit up to face Firpo, the MLS's 2009 Expansion Draft for the Seattle Sounders FC will take place, here is a list of the Dynamo has protected defenders Bobby Boswell and Eddie Robinson; midfielders Brad Davis, Geoff Cameron, Ricardo Clark, Dwayne De Rosario, Stuart Holden and Brian Mullan; and forwards Brian Ching, Guy-Roland Kpene and Kei Kamara. It is anticipated that the Sounders will draft forward Nate Jaqua.

In closing, Houston will host a round of matches in InterLiga 2009, and Houston will host the match up of Club America v. Chivas on January 5.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

2009 Confederations Cup Draw

The draw for this summer's Confederations Cup has occurred, and the USA find themselves facing an all together too familiar a foe: Italy. It looks like the USA also finds itself in another group of death (Group B) seeing that they have to battle Brazil and Egypt, as well as Italy.

Group A includes South Africa, Spain, New Zealand, and Iraq.

The Confederations Cup will take place in South Africa between June 14th to 28th.



The Argentine Connection

One of the subplots today's MLS Cup is Juan Pablo Angel v. Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Angel, now with Red Bull New York, is a native of Columbia who once played for River Plate while Schelotto, now with Columbus Crew, once played for Boca Juniors. As many a soccer fan knows, River Plate v. Boca Juniors is one of the biggest soccer rivalries in the world. In the past week, news that Schelotto's success in the MLS has increased Argentine interest in the MLS. Now, as we approach the Cup final, news is trickling out that Martin Palermo, Ariel Ortega, Juan Sebastian Veron, and Kily Gonzalez might be interested in making the move to the MLS.


Reserves Redux

On the heels of Don Garber's announcement that the Reserves league is being sent to the scrap heap comes this little story from ESPN about how the Reserve players are key for the Red Bull as they go into today's Cup.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

A look at the MLS Cup Weekend

One thing I'll say about the MLS, they do a good job of making the MLS Cup weekend interesting, at least for fans of the MLS. Friday night always features the Commissioner's State of the MLS Address, and this year Don Garber had some interesting things to say. Here's a link to see his speech:


First, rumor of this was circulating and Garber confirmed it, the Reserves league is gone. This is concerning because it destroys what was a good player development tool, and was in line with the way soccer clubs around the world operate. Thought is that this move is one of the first moves made by the league on the eve of entering into negotiations with the players union on a new CBA.

Second, playoffs will continue. I'm fine with this, MLS is not the only soccer league in the world that uses playoffs and playoffs are a special thing here in the States. To those who don't like playoffs, I say the same thing I do when people complain about gridiron lines on the pitch, get over yourself and just enjoy the game - stop whining, the world doesn't revolve around you.

Third, the conference system will continue there is no move to a single table. That being said, the structure of the fixtures for next year - play each team twice, with some extra rivals games - as essentially a close step to a de facto single table, a step that will only go further as more teams are added to the league. MLS is looking at having a total of 20 to 22 teams.

Fourth, the fixture congestion won't be as big an issue for teams like the Dynamo in 2009. There will no longer be overlap of the CCL and SuperLiga teams. The Houston Dynamo will be in the CCL, not SuperLiga next year. The top 4 teams to not make the CCL will participate in SuperLiga.

Fifth, the Montreal expansion bid is gone. Garber says the bid was dropped, others indicate that the league dropped the bid. We'll see how that develops.

Sixth, there is no deal to send Landon Donovan to Bayern Munich, at least not yet.

Seventh, the season will start a week earlier next year, and there will be more emphasis on not conflicting with FIFA dates. This is good news in my opinion. I've accepted the summer schedule, but have never liked the conflict with FIFA.

Meanwhile, today involved news concerning the USMNT. First of all, there was the draw for the Hex, and on February 11, 2009, the U.S. will host Mexico. Expect that match to occur in a cold climate like Chicago or Columbus. It sounds like Hartford and D.C. will also see USMNT Hex matches. I'd like Houston to host one, but we'll see what happens.


Good news, the 1560 The Game's Soccer Show will be back on the airwaves this Monday at 7:00 p.m. cst. You can listen online at:


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Music from World Soccer Wrap: Serie A

People have asked about the songs used for intro, outro, and sometimes filler. So here's some answers.

First, here is the standard intro music, Tu Vuo' Fa L'Americano from The Talented Mr. Ripley:

Our standard outro music, Luna Pop's 50 Special:

Some other music that has appeared on World Soccer Wrap: Serie A --

Capparezza's La Mia Parte Intollerante

Capparezza's Eroe

M.I.A.'s Paper Planes

Nena's Luftballons (2002)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Say No to Racism - Point and Boo

Soccer fans are familiar with Fifa's "Say No to Racism" campaign, and we know it is primarily focused on the deplorable monkey chants, fascist symbols, and banana throwing that occurs in the stadiums, especially in Europe (though the U.S. has experienced its own troubles this past MLS season too). But what I want to highlight today is the way non-soccer fans in the U.S. use the sport as a flimsy cover for their rasicist, xenophobic, and willfully ignorant views. I don't know about you local newspaper, but the paper here in Houston, on its website, has a comment section for each posted news article. This past week I've been checking out the comments on some of the soccer related articles, and I'm disturbed by some of the hateful stuff posted by these readers with their hidden identities. Not only do they show a utter lack of knowledge about the sport or its history in this country, they use these articles as a means to bash people of different races, ethnic origins, and countries.

If you see this on your local paper's website, do a virtual Point and Boo, post your own comment, call them out on their willfull ignorance and hate.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Derby della Capitale

Sunday will mark the first round of the Derby della Capitale a/k/a il Derby Capitolino a/k/a Roma Derby of the 2008/09 Serie A season. The match, which features A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio of course, is considered one of the biggest Derbies in the world, just adding to the intensity of the event.

The first Roma Derby occurred on December 8, 1929, and resulted in a 1-0 victory for Roma. Since 1929, Roma has won 58 derbies to Lazio's 45 derby victories, while 59 matches resulted in draws (these figures include all competitions, not just Serie A fixtures).

Not surprisingly, there is no love lost between Lazio supporters, who occupy the Curva Nord, and Roma supporters, who occupy the Curva Sud. And while violence does occur, the worst incident occurred in the Spring of 2004, when a riot broke out in the stands; however, the riot had more to do with the rumor that a young boy, near the stadium, had been killed by a police car. The game was ultimately suspended and the rumor proved false. But the truth did no come out until after the Ultras took to the streets to face the police (in recent years much of the major football violence in Italy has not been fans against fans, but fans joining forces against the police). In the end there was wreckage in the stands and in the streets and 170 police officers were injured.

The most emotional, in a peaceful way, Derby occurred this past spring when all the fans and players paid tribute to Lazio fan and Rome D.J. Gabriele Sandri who was shot and killed by police last November. Sandri was shot while sitting in a car at a motorway service station in Arezzo. Sandri's father was welcomed as a guest by Roma Ultras in the Curva Sud, Lazio scarf and all.

This year's Derby is important to Roma and its fans because of the team's poor form and slow start this season, while their bitter rivals have been winning and racking up points.

And now, scenes from derbies of the past:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dynamo Team Awards, Stadium Press Conference, & 1560 The Game Soccer Show

Well, the Dynamo were, unfortunately, knocked out of the MLS Playoffs by Red Bull New York this past Sunday, but the news must go on.

On November 11, the Dynamo held a their 2008 Dynamo Charities' Dynamo Awards, and the winners are:

Newcomer of the Year: Geoff Cameron
Dynamo Academy Player of the Year: Jorge Escobar
Dynamo Academy Players’ Player of the Year: Benjamin Saenz
Reserve Player of the Year: Kyle Brown
Game of the Year: Dynamo 2, Pachuca 0 (SuperLiga semifinals, July 29)
Defender of the Year: Bobby Boswell
Fan of the Year: Devin Brown
Team Spirit Award: Sandy Wahowski (Dynamo Girls)
USSF Humanitarian of the Year: Stuart Holden
Iron Man of the Year: Bobby Boswell (most MLS minutes played)
Young Player of the Year: Stuart Holden (U-23)
Budweiser Golden Boot: Brian Ching (most MLS goals)
Play of the Year: Geoff Cameron goal vs. FC Dallas, April 6
Forever Orange Award: Jen Cooper (outstanding outside contributor)
Fans’ Choice Award: Bobby Boswell (fan-voted MVP)
Most Valuable Player: Brian Ching

Congratulations from World Soccer Wrap to all the winners.

This Thursday, the 13th, there will be a press conference in support of building a Dynamo Stadium on the east side of Downtown Houston at 10:00 a.m., at the corner of Dowling & Rusk.


And, of course, there is a petition to support a Dynamo Stadium in Downtown Houston:


This past Monday I was honored to participate in another episode of The 1560 The Game Soccer Show, here is a podcast of the show's second half:


Saturday, November 8, 2008

Justice for the Dynamo

Despite being the most popular sport in the world, the typical U.S. sportswriter dismisses it, bashes it, and revels in his own self-imposed ignorance of the beautiful game.

That being said, I'm proud of Houston's own Richard Justice a/k/a "The Media" has written another great column about the Houston Dynamo:


Justice is a columnist and sportswriter for the Houston Chronicle,, with a focus on baseball. He's also a regular guest on 1560 The Game, the station that actually gave over an hour of airtime for a soccer show focusing on the Dynamo in the playoffs.

And I should note, this isn't the first time The Media has openly written about soccer:



After managing a 1-1 draw in the Meadowlands last week, the Dynamo will face the Red Bull in the second leg of the first round of the MLS Playoffs this Sunday at Robertson Stadium in Houston at 2:00 p.m. local time.

Meanwhile, after much silence on the topic, there has been a flurry of stadium talk discussion here in Houston:



As a citizen of Houston proper, it is time for the city to step up and move forward on the stadium issue.